Mercedes have locked out the front of the grid in Hungary with Hamilton in P1 and Bottas alongside in P2 set to bring it to the RedBulls.
Verstappen and Perez were not too far behind with P3 and P4 setting up a possible chase for the first corner tomorrow afternoon.
Toto Wolf, Mercedes chief, opted for mediums in Q2 meaning the two drivers must start on mediums which could create an initial pace disadvantage but they will be ahead of the Redbulls in terms of tyre life.
The RedBull’s of Verstappen and Perez will start on the red soft compound tyres therefore, they will be hoping for extra pace from the start but with the heat will most likely drive short first stints.
Additionally, RedBull may look at a two stop pit strategy due to the compromised start on softs. This will all come down to the track temperature and overall tyre degredation tomorrow afternoon.
If today’s qualifying was anything to go by it seems like it will be scorching! Budapest reached just above 30 degrees but at the track the tarmac reached 60 degrees making for difficult tyre management on out and flying laps.
Here’s how qualifying played out through the sections:
George Russell was the first disappointment of the session as he struggled with pace and failed to make it out of q1 for first time in 2021.
After his high speed crash into the barriers Mick Schumacher did not make it to qualifying and will start 20th for tomorrows race.
The sun played a heavy role throughout qualifying with extremely hot temperatures as the track neared 62 degrees! The drivers found the track conditions very physical with limited separation between them and the track.
The five drivers to be eliminated in Q1 were:
Carlos Sainz crashed with 6 mins to go in the session. The Spanish driver flew sideways into the barriers trying to get around the final corner.
Evidently the session was quickly red flagged due to the car needing to be removed safely from the barriers.
Sainz hit the slammed the barriers at roughly 145 kp/h which was much slower compared to the crash of Schumacher who slid off in FP3.
The cause of the incident seemed to be down to overheated tires and a sudden wind change. The result was possible gearbox damage, a totaled front wing, and most likely some suspension damage.
Sainz was quick to apologize after the crash to his Ferarri team and said the most likely cause of the crash was a 25kph change in the wind.
A disappointing end for Sainz as he finished 15th without having set a flying lap. In Q1 Sainz was 4th meaning he was the best of the rest before the crucial Q2 and Q3 qualifying sessions
The drivers who were dropped in Q2
Lewis Hamilton was playing games with Verstappen in the pits slowing down to well under the pit lane speed limit to possibly try and intimidate his rival. As well as running the clock down because Hamilton set a blistering lap early in Q3 which held until the end.
Hamilton took a very slow out lap with 2 minutes remaining in Q3 while both Redbulls were behind him meaning Perez just missed out on a final flying lap keeping his previous fastest lap qualifying 4th.
An unwise qualifying strategy for RedBull after their dispute over the penalty at Silverstone, psychologically it seems Mercedes played their trump card and have a strong position for tomorrow’s race.
Christian Horner said in a post session interview: “…that was as good as we had today”. Gamesmanship was at play with Lewis banking his fastest lap early in Q3, Horner further commented that they[RedBull] weren’t bothered with Hamilton’s actions, stating it’s all in his rights to do that.
Q3 classification and the top 10 starting grid for tomorrow is as follows:
The full time sheet from qualifying can be found here:
Feature images source: facebook/F1AMG